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VO2 Max: Your genetic potential

Jan. 10, 2018 / Haley McCoy
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Have you ever noticed how some individuals seem to perform with no effort? Maybe you are one of those people who can run for hours while the rest of us watch in amazement. How is it that someone who puts in half the work as others can be so much faster?  Say hello to VO2 Max.

In laymen’s terms, VO2 Max is your maximum oxygen uptake- your body’s ability to use oxygen. It is the best predictor of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance the industry has. VO2 Max is mostly genetic and represents your innate ability to do constant exercise. Some people really do just have good genes. Lucky for the rest of us, there are a few things we can do to increase our VO2 Max as much as 20%:

  • Exercise more. Increase the volume, increase your VO2 Max.
  • Lose weight. VO2 is a score relative to body weight. Lose a few pounds and your body will be more economical.
  • Train harder. Intervals are the most effective way to increase your VO2 Max by increasing intensity.

It is tricky to find your exact VO2 Max score. It takes intense testing in a physiology lab where you are hooked up to machines. What really matters is not the number, but that you are making improvements in your aerobic fitness. You can see improvements in VO2 Max in as little as a month’s time with training and diligence. Your hard work will pay off as you notice less exertion at greater intensity. Any aerobic exercise will increase your oxygen uptake so start exercising